Debate healthy process

By Country News

Blighty dairy farmer and former Murray Dairy chairman Malcolm Holm has welcomed the conversation around Dairy Australia, but said it must be a constructive debate.

‘‘I think it’s always good to question where the money goes, that’s a healthy discussion and it’s good people question it,’’ he said.

‘‘There have been changes in northern Victoria and southern NSW and Dairy Australia hasn’t really embraced them.

‘‘A lot of dairy farmers are installing a lot of concrete and steel and shifting towards those more intensive systems.

‘‘They perhaps have been too slow in embracing change.’’

With changes in industry, he conceded some areas of research and development were no longer as relevant as they once were, and suggested there was room for improvement.

Mr Holm said examinations being conducted at the research facility in Ellinbank into how dairy cows reacted under heat stress at 32°C was not relevant to northern Victoria given the increasing frequency of days well over 40°C in summer.

However, Mr Holm welcomed the work Dairy Australia has done around employment and compliance and questioned whether it was simply an ‘‘easy target’’.

‘‘It’s easy to look at the negatives, not the positives,’’ he said.

‘‘Sometimes you need a bit of blue-sky thinking, even through the tough times.

‘‘Just saying ‘they’re useless’ isn’t very helpful and is pretty unreasonable.’’